In the market for a new home? Considering a new neighborhood? Many neighborhoods have a Homeowners Association, which puts restrictions on what homeowners in the area can do with their property. Keep in mind these important questions regarding HOA restrictions as you search for a home in an unfamiliar neighborhood.
- Are there any pet restrictions, like weight limits or breed bans (particularly for dogs)?
- Are there any restrictions on holiday decorations or how long they can be displayed?
- Are there any home alterations allowed outside the home? For example, if you’re planning on performing any home improvement projects, will you be able to accomplish those with your new home?
- Is the Homeowners Association approved by the Federal Housing Administration? This is incredibly important to ask, as some are not approved. If you are looking at condos, you are actually able to look up yourself if the HOA is approved by the FHA by visiting HUD.gov.
- Are your guests allowed at your community pool? The answer is likely “yes,” as long as you accompany them. However, there may be a limit on the number of guests you can invite to swim, so it’s a good idea to check.
- Are there any age restrictions in the neighborhood? For example, some communities are exclusively for residents age 55 and over and will not allow people under that age limit to live in the community, even if a resident’s kids are home from college for the summer.
- Does this particular HOA allow home businesses? If you run a business from your home, it may be prohibited by the Homeowners Association.
- Are you allowed to store recreational vehicles or boats on your property?
- Are there any current lawsuits pending with this specific HOA? If there are, find out what they are, because they may indicate whether or not you want to get involved with this particular community.
- Do you have to keep the outside of your house or front door painted a certain color?
- Are grills allowed in the back or front yard of the house?
When it comes time to find your next home, use these questions to become acquainted with a prospective neighborhood’s HOA, keeping in mind your family’s lifestyle and priorities. Think of your own questions yourself, as well, and don’t be afraid to ask them.